Grand Harbor Community Outreach Program  |  P.O. Box 644017  |  Vero Beach FL  32964

Child Advocate Award presented to Grand Harbor Community Outreach

On a chilly 45 degree January 18th afternoon, Dale and Betty Jacobs hosted a warm and cozy reception at their beautiful home.


The occasion was in honor of The Children’s Home Society of Florida presenting their highest honor, the prestigious David and Lorraine Thomas Child Advocate Award for the Treasure Coast to Grand Harbor Community Outreach (GHCOP). Mr. Thomas was the founder of Wendy’s and a lifelong advocate for children.

The award was presented by CHF’s Executive Director, Sabrina Sampson, to President Doug Sweeny.


GHCOP was recognized for its long standing commitment to children’s issues, including over 10 years of support for the CHS Transition Living Program (housed in Vero Beach) which provides housing and living skills focused on getting a HS degree or GED and employment, and outreach to homeless young adults who have aged out of foster care. GHCOP has provided over $70,000 to CHS plus Christmas gifts every year for their clients since 2003.


The attractive award was handcrafted in pewter, mounted on marble and is signed/limited by artist M.K. Shannon.  In accepting this award on behalf of GHCOP, President Sweeny, thanked all of our hard working volunteers and generous donors for allowing us the opportunity to help so many people.  The beautiful award will be on display in the Grand Harbor Golf and Beach Club Lobby. We want to thank Sabrina and CHS for this wonderful honor.


The Treasure Coast Division, which Sabrina Sampson oversees, is one of 12 divisions of CHS which is the oldest (115 years) private non-profit agency providing statewide children’s services in Florida.  To learn more about CFS click on photo to the left.

New Tax Regulations



To help us navigate through the various facets of the tax law, Bill King of the King Group, one of our Corporate Sponsors, kindly provided the attached report and thought we would share it with you, our valued GHCOP supporters.  Please click on this box to access detailed information.

Please find an electronic copy of our latest issue of "Sharings". It's only mailed within the USA so now no matter where you live you can keep current with us. As the title says, our newsletter "shares" our activities over the past few months, shares the good work of our outstanding volunteers, shares our worthy grant recipients and shares our future focus. To access the latest "Sharings" please click on the icon below.
October 2016
May 2017
October 2017 Previous Issues of Sharings

Grand Harbor Community Outreach Sponsors Successful Job Fair


Five short weeks ago Grand Harbor Community Outreach, lead by President Doug Sweeny and VP Philanthropy, Dale Jacobs, collaborated with CareerSource, UP and others to create a job fair within the Gifford community.


The successful event held on November 15th at the Gifford Youth Achievement Center featured 28 local employers with over 300 open positions. Here is a sampling of some excellent press coverage this event brought to GHCOP and our efforts within Indian River County.


TC Palm Article

Vero News Article

Our Annual Evening of Giving was held at the Grand Harbor Clubhouse on November 9th. The following three external articles provide excellent press coverage of the event.


Newsweekly Article

Luminaries Article

Vero News

Grand Harbor Community Outreach Honored on National Philanthropy Day The Association of Fundraising Professionals of Indian River County hosted “A Night At The Museum - Where Philanthropy Comes to Life” on National Philanthropy Day. The event, held at the beautiful Vero Beach Museum of Art the evening of November 15th recognized six categories of philanthropy in Indian River County: Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy; Unsung Hero’s; Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; Outstanding Group Supporting Philanthropy; Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist; and Outstanding Individual Philanthropist. G.H. Connunity Outreach was graciously nominated by the Education Foundation of Indian River County in the Outstanding Group Supporting Philanthropy category which honored groups that demonstrate an outstanding commitment of generosity through direct financial support or volunteer support, has demonstrated outstanding charitable responsibility, and whose generosity encourages others to take philanthropic leadership roles in an organization and/or the community. We were among a group of nine distinguished organizations. Collectively, this group, last year alone, raised over $1,600,000 that positively impacted people lives throughout IRC. We are proud that G.H Community Outreach contribution was nearly 24% of the total alone. We thank our wonderful donors who year after year, create new opportunities for those less fortunate…the true meaning of Philanthropy. We would like to congratulate the Indian River IMPACT 100 who won this category's honor.
GHCOP President, Doug Sweeny, is third from left, top row, Representing G.H. Community Outreach



Honors a foundation or group that demonstrates an outstanding commitment of generosity through direct financial support or volunteer support, has demonstrated outstanding charitable responsibility, and whose generosity encourages others to take philanthropic leadership roles in an organization and/or the community.



NEWSWEEKLY article on Grand Harbor Community Outreach's Philanthropy - originally printed June 21, 2017

Grand Harbor group aims to enhance community by empowering individuals




For Grand Harbor Community Out­ reach President Doug Sweeny, the way to make the world a better place is to improve the person.

To that end, he likes to say the philanthropic group's efforts are aimed at closing "dignity gaps, more so than "income gaps. Just the same, the organization has had phenomenal success raising cash to help in the endeavor.

This past season, Grand Harbor Community Outreach collected nearly $400,000 from donors; all the money will be put to work in Indian River County.

"That's really important to the board and our residents, donors and others who contribute to our fund," said Sweeny. "The money must stay in the county and must be accounted. We make sure they use the money for what the grant was given and want to see results. We hold (them) accountable."

To ensure the organization stays true to its core values, the board bases much of its charitable philosophy on the books "Toxic Charity" by Robert Lupton and "The Conservative Heart" by Arthur Brooks. Both books put forth the thesis that simply giving aid to those in need rarely solves the problem of poverty. Change occurs when the individual is lifted up by expectations of success and is encouraged to become part of the solution.

Some of the Grand Harbor Outreach Board members: Vice President Philanthropy Dale Jacobs; Past President Susanne Sweeny and current President Doug Sweeny with Vice President Annual Fund Charlene Friedman



The organization had a humble beginning, starting 16 years ago with a "best recipes cookbook that sold 1,500 copies and raised $17,000. It now has contributed to more than 30 nonprofit agencies throughout Indian River County and has raised more than $3.5 million.

Sweeny, who recently took over the reins of the organization from wife, Susanne, is in charge of the nonprofit and works with a team of dedicated, fiscal minded philanthropic members.

The program is designed so every penny goes to agencies and people in need within the county. The group does not take any administrative payment, and each grant is vetted strictly by a team led by Dale Jacobs, vice president of philanthropy.

''We never want to see the foundation's contributions go to agencies that don't use it directly for helping people in our local communities,” said Jacobs. "We don't want to pay for executive salaries."

Charlene Friedman, vice president of annual fund, agreed accountability for every dollar spent is crucial.

''We receive nearly three-quarters of our yearly donations from direct solicitation from our (Grand Harbor community) residents," she said. "And if the money isn't fully used for a specific program, it goes back into the coffer."


Focused giving


The organization focuses its giving on three issues that are a systemic problem for the poor: education, family stability and jobs. It has a special relationship with its next-door neighbors in Gifford.

''We adopted the Gifford community as we are jokingly called East Gifford since we share zip codes," said Sweeny. "So we are taking this concept of bridging economic and dignity gaps in hopes to make a difference. But be assured that Gifford citizens are really proud and do much to empower themselves, as well.

''They don't want a handout. They want to build up their community and we can help them do that from right across the railroad tracks."

To help break the "other side of the tracks" division between the Grand Harbor and Gifford communities, the philanthropic organization encourages interaction between the two groups. The meetings help Grand Harbor residents understand where the money is going and how it is being spent "outside the gates."

''For example, we continue to have players from the Gifford Orchestra Group perform at different foundation events," said Sweeny. “The work being done there is tremendous. The orchestra students shows nearly 100 percent have gone on to college.

"Programs like that are where you really see the true impact."


Deep bonds


Freddie Woolfork, Gifford Youth Achievement Center's director of public relations and  facilities operations, said the bonds between the two communities run deep.

"The Grand Harbor Outreach is more than people who live here a few months out of the year,” said Woolfork. "Instead, they are our neighbors who care and support Gifford through their philanthropic gifts all   year long.”

''I feel the collaboration has been essential in broadening everyone's mindset and heart as to the real dilemmas that the Gifford community faces," said Indian River County NAACP Chairman Tony Brown.

The philanthropic group's outreach does extend beyond its next-door neighbors.

The organization recently awarded a $15,000 grant to United Against Poverty for its Success Training for Employment Program. STEP is a three-phase program that includes classroom training, internships, on-the-job training, and job placement and long-term case management until the client reaches economic self-sufficiency.

The Outreach also contributed $6,500 to Indian River County Healthy Start for its Language Nutrition Program. The program buys approved by Parents as Teachers books and encourages parents to read to their babies.


Funders Forum


The organization also is part of the Funders Forum, a collection of philanthropic groups - such as United Way, Quail Valley, John's Island- that discuss philanthropic efforts to ensure cohesiveness.

''We believe it's a good check and balance. A good way to review trends within the organizations and agencies,” said Sweeny. "It's not a competition by any means. It allows each of our teams to research and determine if we are getting the right results."

For more information about the Grand Harbor Community Outreach program, visit its website at www